Education is a basic human right as well as a necessary part of life. Without education, we would be no higher up the evolutionary ladder than we were when we were living in caves and eating what we could kill.

How much have we moved on since then? Well, in technological terms, we have come light years from those early beginnings. We have advanced in medical science, the healing arts including natural and faith related healing and in diet and nutrition. Our health has improved as a result and we live longer.

All this is a result of education and learning. The process is escalating at an incredible rate now that we have the Internet which provides information on a wide variety of subjects at our fingertips. As long as the information that is published online is accurate and correct, then this is a wonderful thing.

But beware misinformation. There is a huge amount of it alongside all the good, accurate and correct information that helps us to progress as a race. Misinformation confuses and misdirects and is cause for concern, as people can be easily led into believing things that are patently not true. Television advertising has already taught us that we can be deceived far too easily into believing that we want something just because a clever advertising agency has created that need in a product that we actually do not need.

Look at cigarettes as a prime example. Do we need them? Have we ever needed them? Absolutely no. All they do is kill people and if it doesn’t kill them it weakens their bodies and allows ill health to do the job. Yet the advertising power of television, cinema, billboards, glossy magazines etc made people want to smoke. Unbelievably, despite all the medical evidence that tells us that smoking kills people, a huge number of people still smoke.

So what does that tell us about the power of advertising and the promotion of misinformation?

It tells us a heck of a lot, at least to those of us able to think for ourselves as opposed to allowing the advertisers to think for us. The Internet is a similarly powerful advertising machine, if anything it it is potentially more powerful than television and that is frightening.

Frightening because its not just advertisers that can abuse the Internet to make us want things we don’t really need. It is an open medium for anyone to publish misinformation and spread confusion. It is unregulated and therefore dangerous simply because it has already been proved that large numbers of people can be easily fooled into believing something that is clearly false, is true. Like tobacco.

So be on your guard when searching for information and double check all sources against verifiable ones such as government publications and similar authority entities.

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